At the beginning of August I had the chance to join youth exchange in Latvia. More about my experience in the Baltic country, I’ll share another time. Now I would like to tell you about one more special event that I had the chance to attend while being there. – Give & Get festival – it is a non-commercial, environment-friendly open air festival where everyone can learn, show his talent, grow, share and create. The festival is hold in Ogre region, in Krape Manor park – large area with hundred years old trees. The festival last few days – the participants and the guest can sleep in their tents and to cook their own food, there are eco toilets and everything needed to have a pleasant stay. There are also a wide range of workshops and events that you can join – yogi, slacklining, other sports, hand-crafting, woodworking, painting and many more.
Our international group participated in the festival presenting street art – teaching how to do graffiti, posters, stencils. When we arrived it was the early afternoon. The sky was gray and it was obvious that it was going to rain. I didn’t mind but the half of the group was complaining. It was colder than what we expected and a lot of people were worried that they were going to be sick. Me, on the other hand, I really enjoy bad weather. Especially summer rain in a green forest. And what a forest it was! Walking under the shade of these old trees felt like walking in magic forest from a fairy-tale. So, I was responsible for the stencils workshop and the plan was to have all the time two or three people on a shift while the others are enjoying the activities and then to change. I was at the first shift and at the beginning no one wanted to join our workshop. I was quite disappointed because we’ve spent a week learning how to draw patterns, cut them and spray. And now I was really enthusiastic to share this with the others. Then suddenly people started to come. There were all kind of people – young, old, locals, foreigners, nice strangers and all kind of weirdos. The first person Ive started a conversation with was nice Latvian guy, hitch-hiker, who wanted a stencil on his t-shirt. It turned out that he was hitch-hiking in Bulgaria and even visited my home town – Plovdiv. At the end – he had nice t-shirt with “Latvia” and “Bulgaria” stencils on it. I was really happy to see that people are interested in our workshop. Even though I wasn’t some kind of expert on stencils I was happy that I can teach the others something. The feeling that you can share something and people to appreciate it, is priceless.
After finishing my shift I went for a walk through the forest to see what is going around. I tried the slackline just to see how much more exercise I need on it. I bought ridiculous hand-made earrings that I love 😀 (the festival is with not commercial goal so you can pay for the hand-made jewelleries as much as you want). And I had my hair done!^^ All around me there were people, smiling, sharing – knowledge, culture, experience, kindness and good mood. I really felt perfect there surrounded by this positive energy. Unfotunately we couldn’t stay longer because of the weather. There was a concert and bonfire in the evening but it was too cold to stay more. In situation like that the Latvians like to say : There is no bad weather, there is not well dressed people.
Give & Get
Why I felt so good there? Give & Get festival actually describes my vision of traveling. To meet new people – everyone unique in his own, to understand different culture, to try speak new language, to talk about history, religion, politics, to share your culture and ideas in return, to learn and teach, to try traditional dishes, to create art, to feel the nature around you, to connect, to experience, to do, to be, to grow.
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Text By Neli